Mass. plans to support, welcome Puerto Ricans
The Bay State is gearing up to host Puerto Ricans fleeing their hurricane-ravaged home while preparing to send millions of dollars and first responders to the island.
A Mass National Guard communications team is also being mobilized to help restore satellite-based data and mobile communications, Gov. Charlie Baker’s office announced last night.
The six-member team could soon be joined by bilingual law enforcement officers, the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency added.
It’s just the start of the assistance from Massachusetts.
“Boston is going to be the center point here of raising the money and the supplies,” Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh said yesterday after announcing a fundraising initiative at the annual El Mundo Hispanic Heritage Breakfast.
Walsh said the fund, called “Massachusetts for Puerto Rico,” is aiming to raise at least $2 million to aid the devastated island commonwealth and challenged the Boston business community to step up and support it.
Newton Mayor Setti Warren, a Democrat who is also running for governor, called on Baker to “deploy the National Guard” to the island.
Warren campaign spokesman Kevin Franck said of the six-member squad dispatched: “Is that a joke?”
Earlier Baker said those seeking relief here will be met “at the airport” and given help to qualify for federal emergency relief in what he called a “soft landing for them as they deal with this terrible tragedy.”
WAITING FOR HELP: Hurricane survivors watch as Puerto Rican National Guardsmen prepare to deliver food and water from their helicopter yesterday in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria in Lares, Puerto Rico.